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A Mom’s Reaction To Her Daughter’s Elementary Teacher Regularly Telling Kids To ‘Shut Up’ Is Causing A Debate

Photo: TikTok/Bella Leone
TikTok Bella Leone

Mother of five Bella Leone posted a TikTok November 3, 2021 discussing her frustration about how her daughter’s elementary school homeroom teacher says ‘shut up’ to students. 

The mother went on to show a message she had received from the teacher in which the educator said she also says, "Level 0, zip your lip, stick a sock in it, shut up, whichever one you understand, do it,” to young kids.

Leone explains she had to take a step back before replying out of anger due to the nature of the message. However, she did respond to the homeroom teacher. 

The TikToker confronted the teacher about using 'shut up' in class.

"As a mother of 5 I understand how overwhelming it can be to have everyone chatting at once and being rowdy. However, I also know there are much more creative and appropriate ways to ask children to lower their volumes," Leone writes in her response.

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"Using the term 'shut up' is disrespectful and children deserve to be respected especially when we are asking them to respect us in return. Our children spend more time in school than at home and I believe the influence they receive from educators should be positive and encouraging."

This conversation has caused a debate in the comments on whether or not teachers should be allowed to speak like this. 

One user commented, “forward to school dept and suggest she take a deescalation course for her professional development.” 

Teachers have also weighed in with Kristi saying, “Yikessss as a teacher….WOOF. Your response was really tame considering the audacity in that first message.” 

Or another comment said, “as a teacher myself, she should be fired.” 

However, some have defended the teacher’s actions by saying teachers are often overworked and underpaid. 

Andia Coats said, “I hope you never lose your cool with the kids. Teachers deal with 20+ kids for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. Excuse them for thin patience sometimes.” 

But the language teachers use do have consequences.

“Using language that demeans a child teaches disrespect. It is hard for that teacher to then suggest that respect is something they value when they are clearly unable to demonstrate it towards a child. These kinds of disrespectful interactions create ruptures in the relationship," Judith Pinto, a Registered Occupational Therapist tells us. 

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"It is clear that an adult (parent, teacher or other) who speaks that way towards a child is not in control of their behavioural impulses," she continues, "This also means that they are then modelling (teaching the children) really unhelpful ways of managing their emotions and controlling their behaviour. Ultimately, the bar for what is acceptable in human relationships is lowered."

There are many phrases a teacher should never say to a student according to ThoughtCo, and not just the obvious curse words and harmful language.

Among them are, “you are just lazy” or “I’ve already gone over that. You should have been listening.”

Both of these put down a student and don’t give students the tools they need to overcome their challenges. Instead teachers should get to know their students and respond in a constructive way to make sure they understand the content.

So, what can parents do if they are unhappy with how their child's teacher speaks to students? 

"It is helpful to offer a teacher (as with all people) the benefit of the doubt," Pinto tells us, "However, if they are clear that inappropriate expectations or disrespectful disciplinary strategies are being used, they need to address it with school administrators so that appropriate strategies for discipline can be put in place.

"All children need appropriate structures, expectations, limits and consequences. But they need them delivered with respect” 

Leone posted an update TikTok in which she explained when her daughter Lyric got to school the next morning, her teacher pulled her out of class and said, “Lyric, I have just received a message from your mother that she would like me to apologize to you, so I am sorry if it offends you that I say ‘shut up’, you can go back to class.” 

Her daughter then came home and said she did not feel safe in the teacher’s classroom and her class has since been changed.

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Sydney Taylor is a writer who focuses on News and Entertainment topics.